Tuesday, 9 December 2008

That's Just The Way I Am!

This very thought-provoking article below was written by Michael Josephson.
I know several people fitting the description and believed it was futile to expect these people to change. Now I am rethinking that point of view.

That's Just The Way I Am!
When we hear this, someone is usually telling us, 'Get off my back' or 'Accept me as I am.'

Often it's a response to criticism. It could be about chronic lateness, thoughtlessness, broken promises, physical or verbal abuse, or infidelity. Whatever it is, we're asked to let it go.

In the end, this is a ploy to get us to lower our expectations based on the dubious idea that certain bad habits are an intrinsic part of character and therefore beyond our control. We're expected to believe it's foolish and futile to expect a person to change.

There are, of course, lots of things that are beyond our control: short stature, big bones, receding hairline. Fortunately, character is different. That's completely within our control. The poor and the rich, the slow and the smart, the plain and the pretty all have an equal opportunity to become people of character.

Sure, character can be influenced by heredity and environment, but it's determined by choice. No disposition, circumstance, or experience is so powerful that it forever fixes our character. That is never finished. It's constantly shaped and sculpted by the choices we make to nurture or ignore our more noble instincts and to surrender to or overcome negative impulses and corrupting temptations.

When it comes to what we demand of ourselves or others, we should never lower our standards. Character is a function of choice. Weaknesses and bad habits are not excuses not to get better.


"Ability is what you're capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it".
- Raymond Chandler

"Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master.
And you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty".
- William J. Bennett

"Success is liking yourself,
Liking what you do,
And liking how you do it".
- Maya Angelou

I took these photos and the header photo last week when we travelled down to Stanwell Park, about an hours drive south of Sydney, to an art exhibition. We also went on this beautiful bush walk along the coast.


avtcoach said...

I am so thankful that it is true that you can change your behavior. There have been more than a few times in my life when I was not happy with the way I behaved and was so glad that I could reassess and do it differently. I have always been a big favor of do-overs. I consider it a sign of great character to admit those short comings and make a change. I abhor mediocrity and the acceptance of it as a great human trait. Not that I have not been tempted to say that very phrase, (I have heard it from my father all of my life!)but I do believe attitude and effort is so important. Peg, these pictures are amazing, I feel like I am there!

Caroline said...

I love the new header...great path!

This post is very thought provoking. We can get let our ego take over and say "take it or leave it, this is who I am." You nailed it by saying it's our way of accepting less than we can be. I am so glad we can change our negative character traits! It's about awareness...and not accepting those traits that hold you back from true greatness.

McMGrad89 said...

I think that you have to be careful, however, to think that people can change and use that as a reason to hang on to a negative situation. Yes, people CAN change, but do they. Not usually. It is really hard for a person to look within themselves critically and see that everything they ever stood for is wrong or hurtful. It causes too much cognitive dissonance within themselves leading them to have to believe that 1)they are a bad person and/or 2)their parents who believed or acted the same way were bad people. No one wants to believe that about themselves. It would take a very strong person to overcome those beliefs.

BTW, nice photos!

Fly Girl said...

I agree with both avtcoach and McMGrad! They both hit the mark on this one.... As for my two cents.... I think people are more apt to change when the behavior isn't too, too terrible. For instance, if someone is chronically late for meetings, etc., the behavior can change when the person admits there is a problem and take steps to learn how to judge time better. Bigger behavior issues lie deep beneath the surface and I think are much harder to admit and to, therefore, change. It really is hard to admit your flaws, and for some, even harder to recognize them.

But, luckily, change does occur. For some, they recognize their problems before it's too late. For others, the time comes too late, if ever.

Good post, as usual. You always make me think!


Meow said...

I definitely agree with every word of what you have written & belong to the same school of thought as you. Character definitely is determined by the choices we make in life & sometimes "that's the way I am" is just an excuse to not try to improve ourselves & become better people. I am sure I would have fallen into this trap myself too, sometimes. But then, I also believe that I do not consider myself perfect & want to strive all my life to become a better human being.

I absolutely love the pictures, especially the first one & while I write this I have "Stand by Me" & "What's Up" playing in the background..I am simply loving it, pure bliss :)

Thanks so much Peggy.

Love & Hugs